Maine Coon breed information and advice

The Maine Coon cat originated in the state of Maine in north-eastern America. ‘Coon’ refers to the ringed bushy tail which resembles a racoon’s tail. It’s believed that seafarers brought over longhaired cats to the US from Europe. These mated with domestic shorthairs to produce the large, sturdy cat with a brush-like tail that is the Maine Coon of today.

The laid back and affectionate nature of this breed makes it an ideal cat for families with children and households with dogs (if they’re cat-friendly). This beautiful cat, with its friendly personality, is very loveable and this guide tells you everything you need to know.

Maine Coon facts

Lifespan 9-15 years
How much over £450 for a kitten; over £1000 for an adult cat
Size 25-40cm
Weight 3-5kg
Colours brushing once or twice a week
Grooming 2-3 times a week
Temperament good-natured, intelligent and affectionate
Exercise 15-20 minutes a day of interactive playtime,
climbing or walking on a lead



Maine Coon insurance

Maine Coon cats can be prone to certain health problems in addition to the usual conditions associated with ageing. Maine Coon insurance can help with vet bills for the cost of your cat’s treatment. This can include any medication, vet prescribed complementary treatment or surgery.

Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance

Sainsbury’s Bank can provide your Maine Coon with cat cover from when they’re a kitten into their old age. New policies can be taken out from 8 weeks old all the way up to their 10th birthday. Once you have cover in place with us, you can insure your cat up to any age as long as you keep renewing the policy without a break.

How to care for a Maine Coon

Maine Coon cats don’t need special care apart from regular grooming. As with any other cat, they need a balanced diet and exercise, so they don’t become overweight and stay in good condition.

The Maine Coon can take 3 to 5 years to become fully mature. They should have a cat food that matches their age, size, activity level and take into account any specific health conditions. To ensure you feed them the right amount, always check the guidelines on the packaging.

There are so many commercially prepared cat foods available you may not know which one is best for your cat. If you’re unsure what food to go for, speak to your vet who will be happy to help you and give you advice on what’s best for your Maine Coon.

Despite having a fairly long coat, the Maine Coon doesn’t require a lot of grooming. Its hair isn’t prone to matting or knotting. Regular combing or brushing once or twice a week should be enough to keep the coat in tip-top condition. It might also need a bath every now and again.

The Main Coon coat is thick, with a semi-long undercoat, which is covered by a silky topcoat. Coat colours can include white, black, red, brown, and even golden. With over 64 possible combinations, patterns can range from smoke and classic to mackerel tabby - and even bi- or tricolour. Their eyes can vary from green and gold to blue and copper.

Like all cats, Maine Coons should have some exercise every day, so they don’t become overweight. They enjoy interactive playtime with toys like laser pointers, string or toy mice. They love to climb so, make sure they have a perch or something similar to enjoy.

While Maine Coon cats are happy to be indoor cats, access to outside space is preferable. This will provide them with plenty of opportunity for exercise and mental stimulation.

Being an intelligent cat, they’re relatively easy to train. Litter or toilet training will not be a problem. They can also be taught to play ‘fetch’ and open doors.



Temperament and behaviour

Maine Coon cats have great personalities. They’re playful, friendly and have a sweet nature. They enjoy attention but aren’t too needy. They can also be quite talkative and are known for ‘chatting’ with their owners, especially if they want something.

Maine Coons can occasionally be found sleeping in the most unusual places. They have a high prey drive and make good hunters so prepare yourself for ‘small presents’ like mice and birds.

Common health problems

Even though they’re a strongly built, robust cat, there are a few health conditions these cats suffer from that you should be aware of.

Maine Coons can be affected by hip dysplasia, a genetic condition where the hip joint doesn’t develop properly. This causes pain and lameness. Signs are usually seen in cats that are less than a year old. The condition is usually managed with anti-inflammatory drugs or a veterinary prescribed diet, but surgery may be considered if the condition is severe.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (commonly known as HCM) is a heart condition that can be inherited in certain cat breeds. In HCM, the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick, which prevents the heart from working properly. If this heart disease is recognised early enough, long-term medication can slow the disease down.

A specific genetic mutation has been identified in the Maine Coon and there is a DNA test available to identify cats at risk. These cats should not be bred from.

Maine Coon cats can be affected by this inherited condition that causes muscle weakness and wasting. Affected cats will become wobbly on their legs. A DNA test is available to identify cats that carry the gene responsible for the condition.

There is no treatment, but affected cats do seem to stabilise and can thrive as indoor cats.

Polycystic kidney disease is a common health problem in middle-aged and elderly cats. Also known as autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease or AD-PKD, it can be inherited in certain cat breeds. Increased thirst, going to the toilet more often, weight loss and lack of appetite can be signs of the disease. Some treatments may help to improve the quality of life of an affected cat.



So, is a Maine Coon right for you?

Large and muscular, these cats are often described as ‘gentle giants’. Maine Coon cats are good-natured, affectionate and are a welcome presence in any home. They prefer company, so, if you’re at work all day consider getting a companion for your Maine Coon – two cats can be better than one.

How much are Maine Coon cats?

A Maine Coon kitten can cost over £450, and an adult can cost over £1000. It is best to buy one from a reputable breeder, who will have made sure that the kitten’s parents have had all the relevant health checks.

How big do Maine Coons get?

Maine Coons are large cats. A male cat can weigh over 5kg, but some have been known to weigh up to 9kg. Female cats are slightly smaller at around 3-5kg. They reach their full size at 3-5 years of age.

How long do Maine Coon cats live?

The lifespan of a Maine Coon cat is generally between 9 and 15 years. Food and nutrition, exercise and good health care will all affect the lifespan of your cat.

Are Maine Coon cats allergy free?

No, as with any cat, Maine Coon cats are not hypoallergenic. If you suffer from allergies, keep this in mind if you’re thinking of welcoming one into your home.

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Content provided from Vetstream’s Vetlexicon

Vetstream Ltd (online) Maine Coon. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website: https://www.vetstream.com/treat/felis/freeform/maine-coon

Serena Brownlie, Phil Fox, Philip K Nicholls, Penny Watson (online) Heart: hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website: https://www.vetstream.com/treat/felis/diseases/heart-hypertrophic-cardiomyopathy

Sorrel Langley-Hobbs, Adrian M Wallace (online) Hip: dysplasia. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website: https://www.vetstream.com/treat/felis/diseases/hip-dysplasia

Laurent Garosi, Simon Platt (online) Spinal muscular atrophy (Maine Coon). In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetsteam Ltd, UK. Website: https://www.vetstream.com/treat/felis/diseases/spinal-muscular-atrophy-(maine-coon)

Martha Cannon, Rachel Korman (online) Kidney: autosomal dominant polycystic disease. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website: https://www.vetstream.com/clinical-reference/felis/diseases/kidney-autosomal-dominant-polycystic-kidney-disease